Long way home for migrants in Konkan and the wait, even longer


Written by MAYURA JANWALKAR
| Raigad/ratnagiri |

Updated: April 30, 2020 6:18:27 am





Stranded migrant staff in Ratnagiri.
When he got down to stroll from Mapusa in Goa, Saroj Bhan Rawat was ready to stroll for 25 to 30 days to make it home in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh.

“It was 11 of us. We set out after packing atta and rice. We would cut through railway platforms at night so that no one would see us. We worked at a building construction site in Goa and there was no arrangement for us to stay put at the shanties we lived in when we had no work. So, we decided to go home and walking was our only option. We were not sure what we would get to eat so we thought it was better to return to home,” he mentioned from behind a face masks.

In 5 days, the 11 males had walked 216 km from Mapusa to Bhoke, one station forward of Ratnagiri on the Konkan railway. On April 14, nevertheless, they caught the consideration of policemen at the Bhoke station.
coronavirus, india lockdown, migrant workers, migrant workers in maharashtra, migrant workers stuck in mahrashtra, migrant workers, indian express news The feeling of being “caught in the middle” haunts many even as the district administration tries to allay their nervousness, Rawat mentioned.
“On the way, we didn’t find any transit camps. But after we reached Bhoke, some policemen accosted us. We pleaded with them to allow to walk further but they told us that arrangements have been made for people like us in Ratnagiri,” Rawat mentioned.

Since April 14, the males have made a classroom in Damle Vidyalaya in Ratnagiri their home. The college is now home to 19 migrant staff – the 11 from Satna and others from the neighbouring district of Sindhudurg.

Ramswarup Kol, who began from Mapusa with Rawat, mentioned the college was comfy and there was no scarcity of meals. “It’s okay for now but this is not home. Had we been home, we could have helped with the work in our farms,” he added.

In the districts alongside the state’s shoreline, migrant labourers are employed in massive numbers largely at building websites, eating places and accommodations. Numerous staff from Nepal additionally migrate to Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in the summer time forward of mango plucking routine and keep put till the finish of May.
coronavirus, india lockdown, migrant workers, migrant workers in maharashtra, migrant workers stuck in mahrashtra, migrant workers, indian express news Since April 14, the males have made a classroom in Damle Vidyalaya in Ratnagiri their home.
Unlike lots of his co-workers from Nepal, who’ve been coming to Konkan in the summer time to work in mango orchards, Rajesh Chaudhry got here to Ratnagiri for the first time this yr. “We are okay right here however with the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, I feel I ought to’ve stayed home with my household,” mentioned Chaudhry, who hails from Kailali in Nepal. He stays on a mango orchard with others from his village.

The feeling of being “caught in the middle” haunts many even as the district administration tries to allay their nervousness.

At Mangaon in Raigad, the displacement of building labourers after many left for their hometowns earlier than the lockdown on March 24, has taken a toll on the work on the Mangaon bypass, situated on the Indapur-Wadpale part of the underconstruction Mumbai-Goa freeway.

Alok Kumar of Chetak Enterprises, the Rajasthan-based firm contracted to construct 26 km part of the freeway, mentioned they want not less than 500 staff however with many having left earlier than the lockdown, solely 120 live at the website. Many others, who had gone home for Holi, haven’t returned.

The firm’s employees, hailing from throughout the nation, have been supplied lodging at air-conditioned container cabins. The contracted daily-wage labourers (incomes a mean of Rs 400 to Rs 500) stay in makeshift asbestos shanties at the building websites.

Among them is Rita Danve, who got here to Mangaon from Bhusaval (about 540 km away) leaving her three youngsters together with her dad and mom. “As soon as the trains start again, I will go home,” mentioned Danve, who has been at the website for over 9 months together with her husband Laxman.

Areas like Panvel and Uran which are in shut proximity with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region are additionally home to hundreds of migrant staff. In Raigad, 36,879 migrant staff are staying at 327 areas, District Collector Nidhi Choudhari mentioned.
coronavirus, india lockdown, migrant workers, migrant workers in maharashtra, migrant workers stuck in mahrashtra, migrant workers, indian express news The contracted daily-wage labourers (incomes a mean of Rs 400 to Rs 500) stay in makeshift asbestos shanties at the building websites.
After information and movies of hundreds of migrant staff gathered at Mumbai’s Bandra station on April 14 had been broadly shared, officers mentioned it had introduced nervousness to many migrant staff in different districts as effectively.

Choudhari, nevertheless, mentioned that they determined to not uproot staff who stayed on building websites. The administration offers them with dry ration, soaps and sanitisers. She mentioned that staff lived in teams of individuals hailing from the similar state or village and scattering them in camps would have solely triggered extra stress to them.

“Even the organisations and NGOs that supply cooked food to some of the camps, we told them to take small steps to ensure that migrant workers feel more at home. Like serve chokha to Bihari workers, serve brinjal with khichdi. In Panvel, we installed a TV in a camp so that they can watch movies in their language,” mentioned Choudhari.

A automotive gentle shone on eight individuals resting their heads on their baggage alongside the freeway close to the Kharsai village in Raigad at daybreak. Going with out water the whole evening, the 4 males, three girls and a three-and-a-half-year-old youngster, had been mendacity right down to relaxation their our bodies that had braved about 220 km on foot from Virar, Mumbai’s far-flung suburb, to their village in Gondghar in Raigad. In one other time, they might journey the similar distance in a bus in eight hours.

The youngster was asleep on his mom’s stretched legs, his black face masks slipping off his ear. “We have been walking for three days non stop. He kept crying and refusing to walk,” mentioned Akanksha Kap, the boy’s mom. The household had solely 4 kilometres extra to stroll to make it home.

“Eight of us stay in one room in Virar. What type of social distancing can we keep? We determined to stroll home… our members of the family in the village say we might be quarantined in the village college for 15 days. That is okay… that is home in any case,” mentioned Ankush Kap, the boy’s father who’s an electrician.

 

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